Colleges Looking at Study Abroad Programs After Japan Quake

Actions overseas have many colleges, including some in the Valley, looking at their study abroad programs.

With the recent unrest in Egypt and now the devastation in Japan, schools officials are wondering if it's safe for students to spend time overseas.

Many parents worry anytime their kids travel overseas.

While the crisis in Japan is still ongoing, Daniel Metraux, a professor of Asian Studies at Mary Baldwin College, says the school is actually expanding its partnership with Japan.

"I've already encouraged our five students who are applying to go to our woman's college there. I've already told them it's perfectly safe," says Matraux. "With a little encouragement all five of them are keeping their applications alive."

Lee Sternberger, the executive director of International Programs at James Madison University, says they are concerned for their programs for the near future.

"The good news is that we have no students there now, but the real question is what are we going to do with our summer program," says Sternberger.

There are many JMU students that are scheduled to go to Japan this summer with a teacher. Sternberger says their greatest concern is what is going to happen with the nuclear reactors.

Sternberger says, "In situations like this, we always monitor what's going on on the ground. So we'll be watching what happens in Japan very closely. We'll be watching what happens with regard to the nuclear reactors."

Both schools say student safety is their top priority and they will do everything they can to keep students safe.

An administrator from Bridgewater College says one student was supposed to leave for Japan at the end of March, but that has since been canceled.

College administrators say they have plans to reestablish the program and send students back to Japan in the future.


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